Archaeologists have discovered the remains of two men killed in the volcanic eruption that destroyed the ancient Roman city of Pompeii nearly 2,000 years ago.
The find was made in a dig carried out during the coronavirus pandemic, the Italian culture ministry said.
One victim was believed to be a man of high status, aged between 30 and 40, who still had traces of a woollen cloak under his neck.
The second, who was probably aged 18 to 23, was dressed in a tunic and had a number of crushed vertebrae, indicating he had been a slave who did heavy labour.
The remains were found in an underground chamber around 700m (2,297ft) northwest of the centre of ancient Pompeii, in the area of a large villa where some archaeological discoveries have already been made.
The men’s teeth and bones were preserved, and the voids left by their soft tissue were filled with plaster that was left to harden and then excavated to show the outline of their bodies.
Pompeii director Massimo Osanna said the two victims may have been seeking refuge when they were engulfed by deadly clouds of ash, rock, and toxic gas.
Pompeii, 14 miles (23 km) southeast of Naples, was home to about 13,000 people in AD 79 when nearby Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying the city and freezing it in time.
The ruins were not discovered until the 16th century and organised excavations began around 1750.
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